As the summer closes in the Northern Hemisphere, many of us who have been fortunate to take a few days off will soon rush back into our daily lives. While we do so, the positives diminishing effects of that time off come quickly – primarily because we think in terms of “work-life” balance. Thinking through what the words mean, it becomes apparent that the underlying meaning of these two seemingly innocent words is more than just uttering them. They literally infer that first we first have “work” and that after our work in a linear fashion comes “life” suggesting that work and life exist in separate worlds.
Really? Isn’t work a component of life? If you agree with me, then let’s stop using the term “work-life” balance and move to the higher level which would simply mean we refer to “life-balance” of which a component is “work” – amongst other things.
The litmus test of work and life traditionally referred to the amount of time one spends at work versus the amount of time outside work, though there is so much more: friends, family, personal interests, time alone, study, community work, self-reflection etc. I’ve recently started to move towards life integration to describe these spheres which make up our “life.”
On 1996, Coca Cola’s former CEO Bryan Dyson delivered at the 172nd commencement of the Georgia Tech Institute. His poignant message still rings true today. He refers to the 5 Balls of Life and 12 reminders which help balance and focus as humans.
“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them work, family, health, friends, and spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that ‘work’ is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life. How?
- Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. It is because we are different that each of us is special.
- Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you.
- Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them, life is meaningless.
- Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live ALL the days of your life.
- Don’t give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.
- Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us to each other.
- Don’t be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.
- Don’t shut love out of your life by saying it’s impossible to find. The quickest way to receive love is to give it; the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly: and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.
- Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been, but also where you are going.
- Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.
- Don’t be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.
- Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved.
Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a Mystery and Today is a gift: that’s why we call it ‘The Present’.
As we rush back into new school years, new routines, old routines, remember to make a life integration map. What are the main components that synergistically cause wholeness in your life?
LeaderLike You! Successful by design, not by chance – through conscious responses instead of unconscious reactions.